While the Jets could earn a playoff spot with an 8-8 record, that is an extremely unlikely scenario. The most direct way to the postseason is to win out and get some favorable outcomes throughout the league.
The Jets will secure a trip to the playoffs if…
NYJ Win Out: at Carolina Panthers (9-4), vs. Cleveland Browns (4-9), at Miami Dolphins (7-6)
Analysis: You could make an argument that this road game coming up in Charlotte is the Jets’ stiffest challenge of the regular season. While the Panthers are 5-1 at home, the Jets have posted just a 1-5 mark away from MetLife Stadium. The Cats are only yielding 10.5 points/game at Bank of America Stadium and they are averaging 26.7 points a contest in their building. The Jets are double-digit underdogs, but a win here could get things rolling downhill.
BAL Loses 2 of 3: at Detroit Lions (7-6), vs. New England Patriots (10-3), at Cincinnati Bengals (9-4)
Analysis: If Rex Ryan’s club can get on a roll, then Jets Nation will have great interest in prime time theater the next two weeks. The Ravens are in Motown Monday Night to face the explosive Lions and then they will host the Patriots six days later on Sunday Night. Even if the Bengals have the AFC North cemented away by Week 17, they potentially could be playing for a first round bye come Week 17. The Ravens’ road struggles have been well-documented as the defending Super Bowl champs sport just a 1-5 away record.
SD Loses 1: at Denver Broncos (11-2), vs. Oakland Raiders (4-9), vs. Kansas City Chiefs (10-3)
Analysis: Jets fans can get an early weekend start Thursday as Peyton Manning and the Broncos look to complete a perfect regular season at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. (If the Bolts win out and finish 9-7, they would edge the Jets based on a superior conference record.)
Final Point: The Dolphins don’t matter. In a scenario where the Jets and the Dolphins finish tied at 9-7, you would go to the third tiebreaker because…
Tiebreaker 1: Jets and the ‘Fins Split the Season Series
Tiebreaker 2: Jets and ‘Fins Have Identical 3-3 Marks Inside the AFC East
Tiebreaker 3: Jets Win Based on Record Against Common Opponents. The Jets would be 7-5 and the ‘Fins would be 6-6. The Jets’ mastery of the NFC South (remember we are counting a win over the Panthers in this case) would be huge because the ‘Fins have already lost games to the Panthers, the Buccaneers and the Saints.